[su_dropcap style=”flat”]B[/su_dropcap]USY, Stressed, and Food Obsessed! I think more than the title of this book, the real magnet for me is the subtitle. “Calm down, ditch your inner-critic bitch, and finally figure out what your body needs to thrive.” The author, Lisa Lewtan, is a graduate of the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, so she has the credentials to educate about foods and health, but when you practice what you read in this book you will benefit from her holistic approach to lifestyle management. This is not a diet book. Let me repeat that. This is not a diet book. This is a relationship book. It’s a book about building a relationship with yourself and food, which just happens to be a big component of our relationship with ourselves.
As we embark on this investigative journey together, I [Lisa] am not going to get into the nitty-gritty details about food. Instead I will teach you to challenge your own thought patterns and get to know your own your body. YOUR BODY will teach you how to best take care of it.”
Lisa tells her own story of living the life of a reformed sugar addict, food lover, full throttle entrepreneur, super mom, and die-hard volunteer. She’s been all the places we’ve all gone, but her inside advantage is that she has spent twenty years studying nutrition theories, meditation, mind-body connection and fitness in order to heal her own mind and body. Lisa didn’t start out on the track where she is now. Readers will identify with her when she shares her story about feeling like she needed to keep up a frenetic pace of achievement to have worth. Filling a superwoman role, co-founding a tech company, working 80 hours a week involved in business strategy, event planning, public speaking, marketing, and negotiations drove her to food, her comfort drug of choice. Then one day while getting ready for a happy occasion, a family wedding, she collapsed, just crumbled. An emergency room visit and neurological tests revealed nothing – nothing except stress. Lisa says, “With those simple words, I broke. I started falling into a deep hole that would change my life forever. It was one of the darkest and loneliest periods of my life.”
Lisa wants to prevent anyone from falling into that pit, so she shares her story very candidly and honestly. From depression, to anxiety, to tension headaches, and panic attacks, Lisa tells about taking matters into her own hands and doing deep investigation into her family history and reading all she could about her symptoms and drugs her doctors wanted to prescribe.
Lisa cautions us about being caught up in the pattern of over scheduling our families and ourselves she acknowledges that we are super busy taking care of everyone but ourselves; boredom is not an option, and we can’t say no. In all this busyness instead of feeling better about ourselves we feel defective. Where we should have pleasure and joy, we have a huge deficit and this is where our obsessions with food starts. We begin to think about food all of the time. We have no defense either. Food is perfectly legal, and you will find it everywhere. If it’s not a place to buy it, it’s a place to read about it. Food is pictured on billboards, written about in magazines, and is literally embedded into everything we do.
The culture around us isn’t going to change, so we have to change. It’s up to us to figure out how to stop the food obsession. Break out your investigator hat and start noticing all that goes on around you and within you. Pay attention to physical clues like cravings, brain fog, energy level, digestive issues. And don’t forget mental clues like anxiety, mood swings, anger, happiness or sadness. The book is a superior resource for getting to the core of what the physical and mental clues reveal.
Living in a non-stop crazy world, we have ended up living in our heads rather than in our bodies. As a result, we are missing out on vital clues to our well-being.”
This is not a diet book, this is an investigation exercise to find out what is really going on with us. Throughout the book, Lisa provides deeply intuitive questions that go beyond the surface of why you might think about food all the time. She also created some assessment quizzes that help with understanding triggers as well as feelings.
Anytime we are not fully present in this situation, our mind will take flight and for those of us who are food obsessed, the landing pad is usually food related.”
Lisa says we eat for one of three reasons. Hunger, Habit, or Trigger. Knowing which one is active when you eat is important. From the sets of questions provided in the text, readers are able to gauge their relationship to food and begin to understand the reasons, hunger, habit, or trigger behind their eating style. With total transparency Lisa recounts her own personal experiences and her recognition of flaws in her eating style. The difference is, she’s already a practitioner of the methods she’s written in this book. Triggers are a strong pull because they set ‘something’ off and it’s a battle to pull back and not get sucked into the eating abyss.
One story stands out to me. Lisa was at a restaurant with her husband and daughter when she decided to eat a piece of freshly baked focaccia bread. I immediately felt what she felt and she did the same thing I would have done, ate her daughter’s bread and proceeded to eat her husband’s too. This is why the teachings of the book are so valuable. Through the exercises following each section and answering the questions that are amazingly introspective, readers become increasingly aware of how food is more than food. It’s a relationship and we have to learn how to make our relationship with food healthy so we can be healthy.
If you’re human, if you’re normal, you will have triggers. They could be chemical, like the ingredient in the bread or they could be emotional. When we are tired, stressed, overworked, or sometimes we just feel bad and underappreciated – watch out. Emotional triggers are about to attack. Learn how to circumvent triggers and become more aware of how you feel, why you eat, or even more proactively, become aware of when you obsess about food.
What you eat, why you eat, when you eat, and how you eat can affect your mood in a very profound way.”
This is a lot to absorb, but Lisa’s got the topic of how to get started in choosing good foods that support the whole detraction from food obsession. This isn’t a diet that tells you what to eat and how much, but it’s a program she calls Eat to Thrive. It’s geared to helping you observe how you feel, bring your cravings under control, and have a strategy for triggers. This book is the textbook on mastering your relationship with food. Through it readers can create a personal offensive plan to get food obsessions under control. What particular thing am I hungry for and how will this food make me feel? What happens if I take a bite and feel like I can’t stop? What foods can I eat that are premium fuel that will energize me?
This book will teach you to practice mindfulness. It will show you what it means to live in awareness of your relationship with food and overcome your obsession with it. Owning the book is the first step, of course, but diving into the practicum and using it as a guidebook toward positive improvements is where the true value is. I like this reminder from Lisa Lewtan, which can also be found on her website,
You see, finding happiness, health, and balance isn’t about following someone else’s plan. It is about finding out what truly nourishes YOU.”